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Understanding the Shortage Designation Modernization Project

In 2013, we started the Shortage Designation Modernization Project (SDMP). We did this to streamline the shortage designation process.

We want to be transparent, accountable, and consistent.

What Have We Accomplished?

Phase I - 2013

Developed and released the Shortage Designation Management System (SDMS).

State Primary Care Offices (PCOs) use SDMS to:

  • Manage health workforce data
  • Apply for Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/Ps)
  • Request Automatic (Auto-)HPSA rescores

We use the SDMS to:

  • Review shortage designation applications
  • Communicate with State PCOs
  • Review Auto-HPSA rescore requests

Phase II - 2017

Completed the first National Shortage Designation Update (NSDU) of geographic, population (groups of people), and facility HPSA designations (excluding Automatically-Designated HPSA [Auto-HPSAs]).

Phase III – 2019

Completed the first NSDU of Auto-HPSAs.

What Are We Doing Now?

Phase IV – In Progress

Health Professional Shortage Area Scoring Criteria Request for Information (RFI)

We asked for public input on HPSA scoring criteria. This feedback will inform policy.

We accepted comments through September 18, 2020. After reviewing the comments, we may contact some respondents.

Maternity Care Target Areas (MCTAs)

A RFI was issued May 2020 asking for feedback related to MCTA criteria. We reviewed the comments and then issued a Federal Register Notice (FRN) asking for comments in September 2021 with proposed MCTA criteria. We reviewed those comments and issued the final FRN in May 2022. Phase IV includes the implementation of these MCTAs into SDMS.

Modernization of SDMS

We’ve updated some SDMS functions. Page layout and colors were updated to match other HRSA systems. Providers addresses in SDMS were standardized, new providers were added for MCTAs, new site/facility association in the system helps manage provider information, and Needs Review Flags were added to help PCOs better manage workload.

Statewide Rational Service Areas (SRSAs)

We’ve adjusted the due date for SRSA plans to March 31, 2024 and are currently working on how these will be submitted and reviewed in SDMS.

What Are National Shortage Designation Updates?

We complete NSDUs to update existing HPSA designations at a single point in time.

Do NSDUs Affect NHSC and Nurse Corps?

Changes in HPSA scores may affect a participants’ facility competitive status for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and the Nurse Corps Scholarship and Nurse Corps Loan Repayment programs.

A facility HPSA score change will not affect the participants’ current NHSC and Nurse Corps contract.

NHSC and Nurse Corps members:

  • may fulfill their service according to their current contracts;
  • may apply for a continuation award and may continue to serve at any eligible site;
  • may transfer to another approved site, if that site in the same HPSA tier.

Do NSDUs Affect Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) HPSA Bonus Payments?

NSDUs may affect CMS HPSA Bonus Payments. For more information on your bonus payment status contact your Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC).

Do NSDUs Affect CMS Rural Health Clinic enrollment or certification?

NSDUs may affect rural health clinic enrollment or certification.

How Do I access the Auto-HPSA Portal?

Use your existing BHW Customer Service Portal login credentials.

  1. Select Auto-HPSA Point of Contact from the “A Site Point of Contact, Representative or POC” section.
  2. Select Login BHW Portal Account Email and Password.
  3. Once the system logs you into the Auto-HPSA portal homepage:
    • It displays your organizations.
    • You can also manage your account settings.
      • Log in to the portal with your current credentials. You can then make the changes from your account settings to any of following:
      • Name
      • Email Address
      • Password
      • Security Question

    Need Assistance with your Auto-HPSA Portal account? Submit a help form or call 1-800-221-9393

    1. Contact your State Primary Care Office (PCO). Ask the PCO to add your email to your organization’s Auto-HPSA Portal account. This will designate you as a Site Point-of-Contact (POC).
    2. Once done, you will receive an email with instructions on how to establish and activate your account.
      • We only accept official business email addresses (e.g., .gov, .edu, .org).
    3. Return to the BHW Customer Service Portal.
    4. Select Auto-HPSA Point of Contact from the “A Site Point of Contact, Representative or POC” Section.
    5. Select Login BHW Portal Account Email and Password.
    6. Once the system logs you into the Auto-HPSA portal:
      • It displays your organizations.
      • You can manage your account settings.
        • Log in to the portal with your current credentials. You can change any of these account settings:
        • Name
        • Email Address
        • Password
        • Security Question

    Need assistance with your Auto-HPSA Portal account? Submit a help form or call 1-800-221-9393

    How To Contact Us

    Shortage Designation Questions

    Email SDB@hrsa.gov

    Contact your State Primary Care Office

    SDMP Questions

    Email SDMP@hrsa.gov

    NHSC or Nurse Corps Questions

    Submit a help form or call 1-800-221-9393

    Auto-HPSA Portal Technical Help

    Submit a help form or call 1-800-221-9393

    CMS Bonus Payment Questions

    Contact your Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC)

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